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Sunglasses swapped for 3D specs at Cannes

Source ITN

Updated on 13 May 2009

Journalists donned 3D glasses as cinema's biggest and glitziest gathering, the Cannes Film Festival, kicked off with animated movie Up.

The tenth feature by Disney's Pixar studio was warmly applauded at its press screening at the 62nd festival on the French Riviera, and should get a similar welcome at the formal opening ceremony later on Wednesday.

John Lasseter, Up's producer and Pixar's co-founder, said: "The thing I'm looking forward to most is seeing all those people in their tuxedos and gowns looking at this movie in their 3D glasses."

The dazzling 3D special effects add a striking new dimension to the first animated feature to open the festival, but the film-makers insisted that they had focused primarily on telling a story.

Lasseter added: "I knew this movie was going to be very unusual but also loaded with heart."

Up, the tale of a gruff old widower and a zealous boy scout who float off to South America in a house borne aloft by a coloured balloons, looks back unashamedly to the good humoured and sentimental style of film-makers like Frank Capra.

Although not competing for the coveted Palme d'Or, Up added a lighter note at a time when there are fewer of the celebrity-driven events that have been the festival's hallmark as studios cut budgets in the recession.

Isabelle Huppert, the French actress who heads this year's jury, said she was not looking to repeat the overtly political agenda set by 2008's president Sean Penn and repeated the customary assurances that competition is not the main point.

She told a news conference: "I don't think we are here to judge, we are here to love films."

Quentin Tarantino, back with his World War Two movie Inglourious Basterds starring Brad Pitt, has attracted much of the early buzz.

But there are plenty of other stars including Penelope Cruz who stars in Pedro Almodovar's Broken Embraces or former France and Manchester United soccer star Eric Cantona who appears as himself in Ken Loach's Looking for Eric.

Hopes are high that a Briton will land the top prize with three UK films competing, including Loach's entry, New Zealander Jane Campion's Bright Star, a period drama about poet John Keats with a British cast and crew, and Fish Tank, a domestic drama starring Michael Fassbender.

Fassbender won plaudits for his portrayal of hunger striker Bobby Sands in the 2008 film, Hunger.

Out of competition, Terry Gilliam has perhaps the biggest movie in Cannes. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is the late Australian actor Heath Ledger's final screen role, which had to be completed by Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law.

© Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

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